JERUSALEM (Aug. 28)
Egyptian architects will be arriving in Jerusalem in coming weeks to initiate the planning of renovations in the Al Aksa mosque in the Old City.
This was revealed by Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Hassan Tohamy in a letter received today by Mayor Teddy Kollek. He wrote that the architects are now completing their plans for the establishment of on additional prayer stall in the masque. Tohamy added that the joint Israeli-Egyptian venture in renovating the mosque points to a breakthrough in “the barriers of darkness which existed in the past in establishing coexistence of the nations in the region.”
In response, Kollek said the Egyptians will be welcome guests in the capital and that the municipality will do all it can to assist them, in accordance with its policy to develop holy sites in Jerusalem. However, City Councilman Gershon Salomon said he opposed the Egyptians coming to the capital because it will serve to further President Anwar Sadat’s objective which he began with his visit to the Temple Mount last November. The Ministry of Religious Affairs, meanwhile, said that it has received no information on the visit, despite the fact that it is in charge of the holy sites in Jerusalem. (By Barbie Zelizer-Meyouhas)